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WOLLONGONG HARBOUR – 29TH JANUARY ‘05

 Will never forget over-nighting in Wollongong Harbour.  Can’t believe there are such bad harbours in existence!  Although it must have been great when it was first built to provide a freight system by sea, for coal and other products, that was back in 1868…

The total area of the `harbour’ would be 3-4 acres, with the northern half packed with local pleasure boats.  The balance of the harbour, bearing in mind half the area has to be left vacant for manoeuvring boats, is taken up with commercial fishing boats.  Mooring/anchoring space is such a problem, a number of desperate pleasure boat owners raft-up (tie along side) other boats, pleasure or commercial, just to have a place to `hang their boat’! 

* Wollongong, NSW, Australia ... A harbour from Hell! *

As I was signing off, following my journey from Botany Bay, with Wollongong Coastal Patrol, (a volunteer radio watch group, which all pleasure boat owners use so that one’s movements are tracked along the coast – a great service which would spring into rescue action if one failed to communicate with them at pre-arranged times) I posed a casual question, as one does; “Can you recommend a spot to moor overnight”, not realising there would be a problem.  “No” came back the answer without hesitation, ”although you may be able to raft up with a professional fisherman, but just make sure you’re on board when he wants to go out”! 

* Wollongong Harbour from the beach ... Call that a beach? *

Great!  By the time I passed through the heads of the harbour I had a chap waving me down, the very same guy who had just given me fairly short shift on the radio.  He had found a spare spot against the wharf which will be “ideal”.  To cut a long night short, I spent every minute of the night worrying about how I was to minimise the belting of the boat against the wooden pylons.  Tsunami has three large fenders and I had great practice positioning these in unison with altering mooring line tensions to the wharf.  The big problem is the constant surge from the ocean washing into the harbour.  It’s relentless and churns up all floating objects. 

To add to the insult of the poor mooring facilities, there are no showers ashore for visiting yachties; and the closest Woolworths/Coles is nearly 2 Kms.   To make up for all of this, there is, however, a Fish & Chip shop on the foreshore which rivals the best I have experienced anywhere, anytime.

I left Wollongong for Kiama Harbour, vowing never to return unless my life depended on it!! 

 

* WOLLONGONG HARBOUR ... (Compliments Wollongong Town Council) *

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